Some thoughts from a month ago:
I have had many tedious filled days lately. For the last 3 months I have been cleaning bathrooms and bedrooms, washing dishes, serving, food, decorating trees, moping floors and more. Working at camp can be a pretty tedious venture. Though we all get to work in a great environment with amazing people, it is true that things can get frustrating at times.
I often will catch myself in a grumpy mood. "Oh, that lady needs another fork? What's wrong with the one she has?" or "Take off your muddy shoes before you come into the kitchen to dirty another cup with your 11th cup of coffee today!". Thoughts like these can often overwhelm me. I find myself criticizing anything and everything done by everyone else but myself. "Oh, if only they'd do it THIS way things would be a lot easier around here."
I imagine that a lot of people could relate to this. Most all of us have things in our lives that drain us at times, or friends that act in ways that make you want to take a that friendship and end it. I imagine that most people don't do anything about this. I mean, what can you do about an annoying person? Shoot them?
I think that most of us just put up with stuff like this. Actually, I think that the way we survive the days is by creating these little dialogs within our own heads. "They are so dumb." "I can't believe they did that."
These dialogs are like pills or something. Take one to numb the pain of frustration a little bit.
But the thing I've been thinking about is how these little day dreams are actually hurting me more than the other people. They may help me justify my feelings but in this way they only contribute to furthering the establishment of a false reality in my mind. These false realities embed themselves in my subconsciousness and, soon enough, they become what I believe to be truth. Let me explain if your patience would allow for a few more seconds of time.
This lady with the muddy shoes and dirty coffee cups is probably a very nice lady. She came to this camp to enjoy a weekend after a busy week at work or with the kids. Obviously, I don't know anything about her and all I can do is speculate. But the one thing I know she is not is a sneaky lady who roams around the province looking for camps to dirty their floors and cups. The problem is that its my job to clean up after her mess and I have chosen to clean it up, and in my mind I am justifying my feelings and thoughts about her with lies.
This is pretty simple stuff, but I think the breakthrough I've had recently is that I am only hurting myself with these lies that I tell myself, or Satan tells me, whichever you prefer. The key to this is the garbage dump that I am stocking up in my mind and heart. I have so much garbage in there and its all bagged and ready for any situation that I might want to "dump" on.
I am reminded of C.S. Lewis' book The Great Divorce. There is a part in there where Napoleon is in "Hell" still trying to figure out who is to blame for the mistakes his army made during his life. I shudder to think of what my thoughts might be like 40 years or so from now. Will I be sitting in a chair all day yelling at everyone around me (out loud or in my mind)? Wrapped up in my own thoughts and lies?
How long will all of our problems continue to be the fault of everyone else? I often think of how easy it is for me to choose good. When I choose good, evil loses and reality sets in, the real one, if you will. Reality is that we are all loved and that we all matter. Somebody cares for everyone. Choosing to reject the the lies is a choice for truth. I choose not to judge that person (out loud or in my mind) because I want to see them as they really are, not in my twistedness. It is in these moments that I can begin to see myself as I really am as well. Only in the light can I point out areas of darkness. If its complete darkness then how will I see anything true? Its scary to think how many of us are already so far down this road. So many of us continue to feed these thoughts. So many of us settle on to fake it because it gives us temporary satisfaction.
Finally, I don't think it's about smacking myself over the head and forcing myself to be good. Its about building a foundation for my thoughts and feelings. If it's forced, then how am I any better than I was before? No, its about a foundation of knowing that we are all special, as corny as that may sound I still believe that so many of us refuse to believe it. We are all loved. We may not know love. We may see love and experience love and not know what it is that makes it happen. I love my 2 sons in a way that is different in the way I love anyone else. I can't explain it, I can only tell other people to have kids because its great. But do I always believe that I am loved this way, the way that I love Miles and Jonas?
"No way. I've got better ideas. I've got lies that I can tell myself to make the day seem brighter and to make my lazy ways a little more credible." That's what I settle on much of the time.